PD International Triathlon
23 July 2011
I’ve been training for 7 months to get to this stage and this is a validation of all the effort I’ve put in. Obviously I’m still alive enough to write this Race Report. So here goes.
It’s no secret that I am a weak swimmer. In fact, out of the 3 disciplines of the triathlon, swimming is by far the weakest of them all. I have had several disasters during swim especially in the Hoohathlon as well as the Triathlon Clinic I attended.
This morning I tried something new and went for a warm up swim at the beach for 20 minutes. And actually it felt great. After the swim, I walked slowly from the beach area to the Marina, getting ready for the pontoon start.
I hated the idea of starting from the pontoon. I think it’s because I have to jump right into the deep end. I waited around for 15 minutes before it was time to start swimming. When the horn blew, I didn’t give myself a chance to think about anything and just jumped in. My strategy was to do the breaststroke until I got comfortable with the water. Then I would switch to the freestyle.
When I jumped in I had to make sure that my goggle was tight and that no water seeped in. I could feel just a little droplet of water in my left eye and I hesitated to move forward and actually started to turn back. But I knew if I turned back all sorts of drama could happen so I decided to move forward instead of turning back.
As I got to the 75m mark I was cursing my decision as more water had seeped in. As planned I also started to swim freestyle and was getting to really enjoy the swim until I looked forward and saw that I had veered way off course. Back to the breaststroke for me. Water had began to get into my right eye as well. But luck was on my side as I saw that the organisers had placed old inflated tyre tubes 100m apart. So I came to one and hung onto it while I fixed my goggles. Then it was back to the swim.
I was last.
Well, not exactly last as there was a couple beside me. I think the husband was accompanying the wife on her swim. So the three of us just ambled on in the water at our own pace. Every time I started the freestyle I would veer off course. I stopped 2 more times to adjust my goggles and by this time I was committed No turning back. I got to the Powerbar buoy and turned and could now see the beach. My heart was pounding not from the stress of the swim but from the excitement of the completing the swim.
50m from the beach I touched land and started to run the rest of the way. And I was so happy that I was beaming from ear to ear. Not I get to really enjoy the triathlon.
Time for swim: 30 mins 6 secs
I took my time with the first transition as I decided to wear compression socks for the bike and run and they took at least 1 minute to put on. After a change of shirt, sunnies, helmets, buffs and shoes, I was out of the T1 area faster than I had originally planned.
Time for T1: 3 mins 25 secs
I came out of the transition area in last place and decided to really go for it. The first 7km was flat and I pedaled as fast as I could trying to catch up with the rest. I brought a pice of bread with me and started to eat it while i got ready for the climb coming up. The hills did not disappoint and my legs were suffering. Barely got through hill 1 before I had to face hill 2. By the time I got to the third hill I had slowed down tremendously. I was anxiously looking for the turning point as I needed the psychological boost of being halfway through the bike leg.
I was alone most of the way until I saw the lead bunch coming towards me and I thought that it was odd to see the leaders at this distance. They must have had at least a 15 minute start on me because of my slow swim and yet they had passed me at about the 8km of my bike. I knew something was not right as either they are very slow or I was very fast.
The mystery was solved as I got to the halfway point. It turns out that there was no signs for the turn and there were no marshals to direct the cyclist to turn. I was fortunate enough to have marshals when I got there and as I turned I joined a big bunch of cyclist who apparently had gone for more than 10km pass the turning point.
I did feel very bad for those who overshot the turning point. It didn’t effect my time but it sure does effect my placing and I am sure they deserve to be much higher in the results. I plodded on and breathed a sign of relief as I got the the flat and final section of the bike leg.
I got to the transition area in one piece and was looking forward to the run.
Time for bike leg: 45 ins 31 secs
Transition 2 was a breeze as I had decided to wear the same shoes for both the bike and run.
Time for T2: 42 secs
I had pushed too hard on the bike as the run was a painful affair for me. My ankles hurt, my feet hurt, my calves were cramping up and I had to run walk the last leg of the sprint triathlon.
I had never felt this much pain for any run that I did before this. Even when I walked I was limping away. I figured that I was walking at least half of the 5km. I met up with a guy who was also walking and he told me that he has no energy left. So we ended up walking and running together.
Getting the the final turning point was such a pleasure. Another 2.5km to go and I can feel some energy coming back to my legs and was running more than I was walking.
I can’t describe what I was feeling nor share what I was thinking in that final few hundred metres because I can’t honestly remember. I could feel the pain in my legs though and I was gritting my teeth trying to ignore the pain.
When I got the finishing line, I remember thinking 1 thing. No more swimming, cycling or running for the rest of the day.
I did it.
Time: 45 mins 54 secs
Total Time: 2hr 05 mins 05 secs
Many thanks to the organisers, race volunteers, police and medical staff.
Many thanks to all supporters, friends and family who got me through the last 7 months. Their encouragement, support and belief was overwhelming and I will always remember it.
My feet are still in pain as I write this but I know the pain will go away. I started this journey 7 months ago. I’ve run more than 700km, cycled more than 300km, swam more than a thousand laps and lost 25g along the way.
My life has changed forever.
Thank god I made that decision to start running way back in november.
If I Can Do It So Can You!